Lifestyle article for the Evening Standard

December 2017.         |          Bridebook

33 UK wedding venues fit for a royal wedding

I was commissioned by my client to write a topical article for the Evening Standard at a time when the buzz and anticipation surrounding the upcoming royal wedding was at its peak.

This was a ghost writing brief and I would be writing on behalf of Bridebook CEO and Founder, Hamish Shephard, who fills a regular slot on the Evening Standard’s Lifestyle section.

Client feedback:

“Amy, you are an absolute superstar! And a speedy superstar at that. Thank you so much – we absolutely love the piece!”

Bethany Wright – Head of Bridebook Business

Link to live piece:

Below, you can see the published feature in situ.

Full article:

33 UK wedding venues fit for a royal wedding

There’s a Spring in everybody’s step as the news of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle’s engagement reverberates across the world.

And whilst the royal wedding is already being planned we wanted to help those of you without a wedding planning entourage take the first step and decide on where you’ll get married next year.

As the founder of wedding planning app, Bridebook, I feel it’s my duty to make sure that everyone feels like a princess on their big day; royal budget or not.

So here’s the list of wedding venues I deem fit for princes and princesses in 2018.

Once upon a time, there was royally great list of spectacular UK wedding venues…

Dundas Castle, Edinburgh

What better way to celebrate your wedding in royal fashion than in your very own castle? Dundas Castle is one of Scotland’s most notable castles and is one of the top 5 Star Exclusive Use venues in Britain.

Chateau Rhianfa, Anglesey, Wales

With spectacular views over the mountains of Snowdonia, Chateau Rhianfa is a fairytale wedding venue with an other-worldly feel. Prepare to be blown away by the recently awarded Most Romantic Venue in Wales.

Fonmon Castle, Wales

Boasting 800 years of history, Fonmon Castle could be exclusively yours and is ideal for those dreaming of a luxurious wedding to rival any royals. This castle is a prestigious wedding venue ideal for princes and princesses – real or pretend.

Hampton Court Castle and Gardens, Herefordshire

When I think of the word ‘castle’, Hampton Court Castle is what I envisage. This stunning 15th century wedding venue with award winning gardens boasts a chapel, ballroom and medieval banquet hall. The Bridebook team could very easily imagine Harry and Meghan here.

Leeds Castle, Kent

This enchanting castle is almost entirely surrounded by water and is hailed by many as “the loveliest castle in the world”. In fact, this magical castle has actually housed six of England’s medieval queens so you’d be in great company for your very own version of a royal wedding.

Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire

It may not be a castle but don’t let that put you off. Hodsock Priory is one of the most beautiful stately homes in Britain and has been visited by four English Kings, so there’s plenty of regal history to keep you occupied; not to mention breathtaking views and scenery both inside and out.

Port Eliot Estate, Cornwall

Who knew quaint Cornwall was hiding such a huge secret. Port Eliot Estate is an impressive grade 1 listed stately home tucked away from the nearby village and harbouring hundreds of years of history. Take your first dance on the 1500 year old tiled floor surrounded by treasures owned by Lords and Ladies of the past.

Holkham Hall, Norfolk

For a wow-factor wedding with real status, couples choose to marry in The Marble Hall at Holkham Hall. Architecturally influenced by The Pantheon in Rome, this imposing Hall and its surrounding deer park, lake and parkland provides the perfect backdrop for those in search of a wedding venue with splendour.

Cowdray House, West Sussex

Formerly home to the Estate’s polo field, weddings at Cowdray house may still incorporate polo lessons and croquet on the lawn for couples in search of a royal themed affair. The versatile House and Gardens can be used to host indoor and outdoor weddings; whichever your highness prefers.

Cardiff Castle, Wales

Standing tall in Cardiff city centre you’ll find the medieval dream world of Cardiff Castle. This diverse venue boasts charming fairytale towers, an exposed Roman Wall, medieval Keep and wartime shelters to explore. A wonderful setting for wedding photographs.

Ackergill Tower, Scotland

I bet you didn’t think it was possible to exclusively hire a 15th century castle perched atop a cliff edge with its own private beach. Oh and did I mention that this Luxury Highland Estate boasts five star, award-winning service and is one of the remotest, most romantic settings in the British Isles? You’re welcome.

Hedingham Castle, Essex

There’s something very special about Hedingham Castle, the winner of the Best Wedding Venue category in the Hudson’s Heritage Awards, 2017. If a wedding in an authentic, historically significant Norman castle in Essex sounds like something you’re after, well look no further.

Clearwell Castle, Gloucestershire

I can hardly think of a more perfect setting for a wedding fit for a prince or princess than a castle hidden in an enchanting forest. A place where natural beauty meets regal charm, this award-winning fairytale wedding venue could be exclusively yours for your I do’s.

Achnagairn Castle, Kirkhill

This pristine castle was recently named Best Wedding Venue in the UK by Harper’s Bazaar and it isn’t difficult to see why. Achnagairn Castle perfectly marries contemporary design with historical opulence to deliver a stunning venue in the Highlands of Scotland – perfect for a truly unique wedding day.

Danby Castle, Yorkshire

This family run castle boasts home cooked food and the freedom to design your day exactly as you wish. Choose to wed in the 14th Century Court Room with views across the Esk Valley and then retire to the Barn for your wedding breakfast and evening celebrations.

Lympne Castle, Kent

Who knew such treasures could be unearthed so close to home. Lympne Castle dates back to the 13th century which is clear to see from the incredibly picturesque exterior, however step inside and enjoy grand interiors as well as comfortable facilities. This truly is a medieval fairytale dream.

Thorton Manor, Cheshire

Thorton Manor is a brooding manor house set in 120 acres of glorious countryside. Consisting of the Manor House, Lakeside Marquee, Waterside Pavilion and Walled Garden, make each space your own and celebrate your marriage in style at one of Cheshire’s most popular wedding venues.

Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire

This medieval fortress is simply wow inducing – I think I’m in love. Queen Elizabeth herself has enjoyed a stroll or two around the historical Berkeley Castle so if you’re hoping for a royally grand day you’re going to love this. Enjoy roaring fires and twinkling lights in winter, and lily ponds and grand terraces during long summer afternoons.

Belfast Castle, Ireland

You’ll be enamoured by the photographic opportunities presented by Belfast Castle and its manicured lawns, overlooking the stunning Belfast Lough. This Irish charm offers incredible value for money on wedding packages too.

Melville Castle, Edinburgh

This glorious Scottish castle is set in an idyllic country estate and has played host to both grand society weddings and smaller, more intimate affairs. This castellated mansion is a unique and enchanting venue for both wedding receptions and civil partnerships.

Ashridge House, Hertfordshire

Royalists, brace yourselves. The exceptional Ashridge House sits nestled amongst the trees on a 190 acre estate in Hertfordshire and was once home to Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. Create your own little bit of history in this crown jewel of a wedding venue.

Cliveden House, Berkshire

The gorgeous Cliveden House sits high in the Berkshire countryside offering panoramic views over the River Thames. This stately home is architecturally extravagant and has been famed for its royal and celebrity parties since it was built in 1666.

Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire

It’s difficult to decide which is most impressive – the outside or inside of Belvoir Castle. This romantic fairytale castle houses a Ballroom with floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, ornate chandeliers and Gothic archways, and a grand staircase that leads to immaculate rooms that transport you back in time. You’ll have to see it to really understand.

Allerton Castle, Yorkshire

Fans of Victoria…brace yourselves. This romantic gothic revival castle has featured in the ITV hit series which just goes to show how royally special this castle really is. Rub shoulders with acting royals and hold your wedding in the Gothic Great Hall, heading out to The Memorial Gardens and terrace afterwards for spectacular photo opportunities.

Castell Coch, Wales

Escape the rat race and run away to marry the one you love; surrounded by just the closest of family and friends. Castell Coch caters for small wedding receptions with up to 30 guests which only adds to the feeling of secret exclusivity you get when approaching the castle. Its colourful interior and beautiful woodland setting will stay with you for all time.

Durham Castle, Durham

Prepare to watch jaws drop as your guests approach Durham Castle; its courtyard instantly adding a touch of magic to your wedding day. The castle’s Great Hall dates back to 1284 and is the perfect place to hold your wedding breakfast in high society style.

Waterton Park Hotel, Yorkshire

Floating on its own mini island on a lake, the Waterton Park Hotel can only be accessed via its own private footbridge; ideal for keeping out nosy paps. What an entrance, what a place. This hotel could provide you with your own little slice of exclusivity for your big day.

Walton Castle, Somerset

This 17th century hill-top castle offers newlyweds and their guests 360 degree views of wooded hillside. But although the views are vast, a wedding at Walton Castle feels close knit, private and intimate. The courtyard is a fantastic place to hold your ceremony; you’ll be entirely protected by ancient turrets and stone walls.

Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

Once upon a time, nestled at the foot of the dramatic Malvern Hills on the edge of the Cotswolds, there stood your fairytale wedding venue. Eastnor Castle is the epitome of romance, luxury and charm. It is surrounded by a beautiful deer park, arboretum and lake – the perfect setting for the most magical day of your life.

Hylands House, Essex

The effortlessly elegant Hylands House combines baroque beauty with cool and contemporary spaces – allowing you to choose a style that best suits you. Surrounded by over 500 acres of historic parkland, this wedding venue and its gardens are truly timeless and offer something to please everyone.

Warwick Castle, Warwick

I’m no stranger to Warwick castle but I continue to be blown away by the beauty of it each time I visit. Visible from the high street, who knew that this famous castle was available to hire for weddings?! Over the years many royals have been entertained here; both in the historical and opulent State Rooms as well as in the beautiful castle grounds. A truly magnificent venue fit for Kings and Queens.

Huntsman Court, Devon

This multi award winning exclusive use country house offers more than a pretty facade. Named as one of the most flexible country houses in the country, it allows you to stage your own 48 hour take-over party and enjoy no corkage charge and the freedom to organise your own suppliers. I can only agree with the Evening Standard when they succinctly called Huntsman Court – “First Class”.

Eynsham Hall, Oxfordshire

A dream wedding venue in a dream location; Eynsham Hall is a picture perfect fairytale venue. This Grade II listed Jacobean style mansion is set in beautiful landscape gardens complete with fountains and terraces. It’s the kind of palace a royal might live in. We’d settle for a day or two here though.

If these royally extraordinary wedding venues haven’t got you reaching for the credit card, explore the entire range of top UK wedding venues at